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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"


Obedience can be secured only through a complex formation
-of the mental personality; in order to obey there is necessary not
•only the desire to obey but also the ability to obey. Since, when
•we order anything, we expect an active or an inhibitory result,
•obedience must include an act of the will and an intellectual act.
To prepare for this active growth in detail, by means of separate
'exercises, is to urge the child, although indirectly, towards

The method which we advocate contains in every part of it
•a voluntary exercise; when the child carries out movements co-
ordinated for a definite purpose he reaches a goal which he had
tset up, repeats an exercise patiently, exercises his will.

Similarly, in fairly complicated series of exercises he brings
into action inhibitory powers. For instance, the silence lessons
demand prolonged control forbidding all movement: when the child
is waiting for the call, and also strict control of the acts which
follow when the child would like to shout for joy and rush out at
the call; instead of that he is silent and moves lightly, taking care
to avoid obstacles so as to make no noise. Other inhibitory exer-
cises are those of arithmetic: when the child, having taken out a
number, has to take from the great heap which is all apparently
.at his disposal, only the number of objects corresponding to his
numeral, whereas (as experiment has shown) he would like to take
the greatest possible quantity, and if fate deals out to him the
zero, he waits patiently with empty hands. Another exercise which
forbids action is found in the zero lesson: when the child, having
been invited in so many ways to come zero times, and give us zero
lasses, remains motionless, mastering the impulse which would
carry him at once to obey this call. The child who is carrying
the great pan full of hot soup must shut out every outside attrac-
tion, must resist the temptation to jump about, must put up with
the itch from the fly on his face, and be completely absorbed in the
great responsibility of preventing the pan from tipping up or falling.

One baby girl of four and a half, every time she was resting
the pan on the table till the little guests should be served, made